Gopher shooting session turns into heavily-armed RCMP takedown on Alberta farm

Shawn LoganShawn Logan

The man began videotaping the encounter with his cellphone as police showed up wearing tactical vests and pointing assault rifles

When David DeWolfe closes his eyes, he says he still sees the cold steel of an RCMP rifle pointed at his head.

The Strathmore father of two is considering his legal options just days after he and his family endured a “high-risk arrest” by Mounties on a rural farm, after they’d responded to a complaint that shots had been fired at a neighbouring property.

At about 7:45 p.m. Sunday, Mounties in the town of 14,000 just east of Calgary said they were called for reports of shots fired and responded with “multiple RCMP members,” which quickly spiralled into a terrifying confrontation that left DeWolfe, his family and two friends shaken.

“I’m a guy with a young family. I teach piano for a living, I’m not a drug-dealing thug,” the 29-year-old told Postmedia on Wednesday.

“I thought they were going to kill my wife, my kids and I. Every time I close my eyes, I see a gun pointed at my head.”

In a statement from RCMP, which said they will provide “no further commentary” on the incident, the force said the tactics used were in response to the seriousness of the complaint.

“Given the dangers and dynamics of this type of call to service, multiple RCMP members responded and contained the people who were believed to be involved,” RCMP said.

“No persons were injured during the resulting arrest. The safety of the RCMP and of the public in adjacent areas, as well as the safety of the subjects involved, was at all times the primary consideration.”

DeWolfe said he spent most of the day with his family at the Stampede before returning home around dinnertime Sunday evening. Following his arrival, he got a call from two friends who asked if they could come over and shoot some gophers on his rural property.

Soon after, he saw several RCMP vehicles at his neighbour’s property and called his friends to suggest they wrap up their shooting for the evening. Not thinking much about it, DeWolfe said he then ran a bath for his children, aged four and two.

As he bathed his kids, his cellphone rang — it was an RCMP officer demanding he come out with his hands up.

“It caught me so off guard — I hung up and said, ‘Oh my God, what am I going to do?’ ” DeWolfe said, adding a second, calmer call from another officer convinced him to comply.

“I went out with my wife, and as we came around the corner we see several police officers with their guns pointed toward our heads.”

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